A friend who is visiting us soon asked about the Alhambra in Granada; whether there were any documentaries about it and the best books.
The official guide to the Alhambra is a good start but fairly basic as one would expect. One book to look out for, we’ve been told, is ‘Reading the Alhambra’ by José Miguel Puerta Vílchez, lecturer in History of Art at the University of Granada. The book was published in 2011 and comes with a DVD on the subject, in six languages. He features in the third film below.
Another book, ‘L’Alcazar el la Grand Mosquée D’Occident’ by Rafael Contreras is, according to a Spanish friend, the definitive work on the Alhambra and other Arabic monuments in Andalucia. It was written in 1889. If you search hard enough, it’s available in both a Spanish and English re-editions, possibly found at book fairs and in Granada secondhand bookshops.
If anyone knows of other books, please leave a comment below.
We’ve watched the documentaries below and they’re all informative in different ways. They made a real difference when visiting, bringing to life what the place may have been like in its early decades, the geometry of design, botched restorations, the inscriptions, how water reaches the Alhambra – it is on a hill afterall – and the two fingers it gave to the encroaching Christians who slowly descended south until, in 1492, the keys to the place were finally handed over. The films also helped us spot details which otherwise would have gone unnoticed, like faded paint on the Puerta del Vino (Gate of Wine) and iron grills over pits where prisoners were once held.
Film 1: This is in three short parts with parts 2 and 3 popping up at the end of part 1.
Film 2: No commentary but great filming in HD.
Film 3: Only a link to YouTube is available – it’s very watchable so don’t miss it!
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